Acting Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Department of History
PhD University of Chicago MA, University of Chicago BA, Oberlin College
French (fluent) Yiddish, German (reading)
Lisa Leff is a historian of 19th and 20th century Europe whose research focuses on Jews in France. Her first book, Sacred Bonds of Solidarity (Stanford UP, 2006), examines the rise of Jewish international aid in 19th century France. Her second book, The Archive Thief (Oxford University Press, 2015), tells the story of Zosa Szajkowski, an influential Jewish historian who stole tens of thousands of documents from French archives and sold them to libraries in the United States and Israel. It was awarded the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature, and was a finalist for a 2015 National Jewish Book Award.
At American, her teaching is broad, encompassing French, Jewish, and general European history of the 18th and 20th centuries. She was named American University's 2017 Scholar-Teacher of the Year.